ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — After separating during the Vietnam War decades ago, an Albuquerque man and his father have been reunited in a story captured by international media.
For 40 years, all that Albuquerque resident Gary Bui had from his father were two pictures – one of his father and mother, and another with his older brother, father and mother.
“This is my proof that you know, he’s out there somewhere,” said Bui, looking at one of the two photos.
However, today, that has all changed.
“You can tell, we don’t need a DNA test. Right? You can just look at us,” said Jerry P. Quinn, father of Bui.
Bui finally reunited with his dad this week after both have been searching for each other decades. It’s something both always wanted, but an opportunity they never thought they’d get.
“Gary, my son, and his mother have been on my heart for 40 years,” said Quinn.
“I didn’t think I could find my dad to be honest,” said Bui.
Bui’s parents met in the early 1970s toward the end of the Vietnam War. But as an Army soldier in the communications division, Quinn was forced to leave Vietnam when the U.S. withdrew its force from the country on March 28, 1973, six months before Bui was born. Quinn was among the last 2,500 G.I.’s to leave Vietnam.
“That was the last day I saw Gary’s mother and Gary hadn’t been born yet,” said Quinn.
And like so many in that era, Quinn lost contact with his wife and son a couple years later when Communist forces took over.
“It just happened because of a result of water, devastation,” said Quinn.
Bui was eventually orphaned in Vietnam, then taken to the U.S. when he was 13 years old. Bui says he grew up in a foster home in New York. Eventually, he got married in 1999, then moved out to Albuquerque to be closer to family in 2004.
Since he was old enough to know, Bui says he’s been searching for his father. Quinn was the same way, not knowing anything about where his former wife Brandy or their son was. In December 2013, Quinn’s story was picked up by the British Broadcasting Corporation who agreed to follow Quinn on his search to learn more about his son.
“They said here, here’s your ticket, go,” said Quinn.
The BBC gave him a ticket to Vietnam where Quinn was able to link up with his former wife, but not Bui.
It wasn’t until about a month later on Facebook where the two had success.
“I think this is more than a miracle. It just, you know, I mean, everything happened so fast,” said Bui.
After seeing a post by a fellow Amerasian searching for his father, Bui submitted a friend request. On that random person’s page, Bui saw a “liked” post from a man named “Jerry P. Quinn” who detailed his story about trying to find his long-lost son from the Vietnam War. In response, Bui wrote a comment on the post, saying, “keep searching.”
However, Bui started to think Quinn just might be his father once he discovered the same photo Bui had of his mother and a man. After comparing pictures, both realized they were father and son.
For the first time ever, the two met in Albuquerque.
“We got each other now, though,” said Quinn.
Quinn says the BBC story about the search for his son is slated to air sometime in the next month. Quinn, who now lives in Taiwan, says he plans on spending a lot of time with Bui and his family now that they know each other.